What is Strength & Conditioning?
Strength and conditioning at its simplest form is the practical application of sports science to enhance movement quality. It is grounded in evidence-based research and physiology of exercise and anatomy. We all move and therefore we can all benefit from a better quality of movement.
Strength and conditioning isn’t a hardcore beasting only for athletes, nor is it a particular Olympic lift, prowler push or hill sprint drill. Whilst we might associate these moves with strength and conditioning, they’re tools that aid good strength and conditioning. So… what is strength and conditioning?
Strength and Conditioning Explained
Firstly, we tend to focus on movement quality to improve performance, this can be in any given sport focusing on speed, strength and power, or equally, it could be improving performance in real-life scenarios, such as standing up with ease for elderly clients.
Secondly, we focus on preventing injury, developing better movement patterns helps to prevent injury in athletes which can help accelerate their career. In our real-life scenario, this could be an elderly client working on proprioception & balance to help them fall less frequently.
Strength and conditioning is a great way to transform your body and get huge results, whether your an athlete or amateur, expert or just starting out. It encompasses so much more than just lifting weights and focuses on a variety of tools to improve movement, health and physical performance.
Strength & Conditioning used to be a niche environment believed only to be for athletes, but as more people come to understand the many benefits of movement-based fitness; the strength and conditioning market is growing. Methods include plyometrics, speed and agility, mobility, core stability, endurance and weight training and so much more depending on the individual or teams needs!
Strength and Conditioning Benefits:
The benefits of a good strength and conditioning programme will change for every individual, depending on their abilities and goals, however, these are our top 10 favourite reasons to start strength and conditioning training.
A key pillar in strength and conditioning training is fully assessing a client’s movement patterns so that you can use movement correct techniques to prevent injuries. Injury prevention is highly beneficial to athletes and amateurs alike.
An improved level of proprioception is often achieved with strength and conditioning work. Proprioception is the awareness of movement and position in the body. This can be worked on with specific exercises and balance work. The decreased injury as a result of strength and conditioning training also plays a large role in improving proprioception.
A strength and conditioning program will look to improve your performance over time. Programming is performance specific using scientifically-backed training methods. A Strength & Conditioning Coach is key to maximising your capabilities to improve performance as they will be able to identify key areas of improvement and also measure your results accurately. Performance can be improved by the technical, physical, tactical or mental factors that starting a strength and conditioning routine has on participants.
Enhanced General Health
It is a truth universally acknowledged that exercise is good for our overall health and wellbeing, from mental to physical health. The combination of strength training, HIIT training, plyometrics and cardio conditioning that characterise strength and conditioning training help to increase cardiovascular health as well as muscular, skeletal and mental health.
Strength training doesn’t just increase the strength of our muscles. In fact, there are numerous articles and research papers into the benefits of strength training improving bone density. An article published by Harvard Medical School on the effect of strength training on bone health explains:
“Numerous studies have shown that strength training can play a role in slowing bone loss, and several show it can even build bone. This is tremendously useful to help offset age-related declines in bone mass. Activities that put stress on bones can nudge bone-forming cells into action. That stress comes from the tugging and pushing on bone that occurs during strength training (as well as weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or running). The result is stronger, denser bones.”
With improved movement mechanics comes improved posture, something with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, we could all benefit from. Posture analysis is often conducted as part of an initial assessment so movement patterns can be developed based on improving functionality for the individuals’ needs. Improved posture can lead to better overall bodily functions including your respiratory system and circulation.
Exercise in all shapes and forms can help to release serotonin which improves mood and strength and conditioning is no different. Seeing the progress that comes with a science-based strength & conditioning programme can also be incredibly rewarding. As an athlete, strength and conditioning can improve your performance at a competitive level which is bound to be hugely exciting for any competitor!
Increased Muscle Mass and Metabolism
Strength and conditioning training helps to build muscle, which in turn gives your metabolism a boost as muscle burns more calories at rest. A research paper published in the National Library of Medicine discovered that hypertrophy (building muscle) has increased metabolic benefits. An increase in lean muscle mass reduces the risk of insulin resistance, a group of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other factors which can lead to ill health such as elevated fasting glucose and triglyceride levels, hypertension, obesity and reduced HDL cholesterol.
Exercise Can Become More Enjoyable
When you move correctly and you notice improvements in your movement technique, exercise becomes more enjoyable. This is not only because progress is motivating, but also because strength and conditioning helps to prevent injuries by developing quality movement patterns. A reduced concern with the risk of injury also helps to make training more enjoyable!
Faster Recovery After Injury
One of the principles of strength and conditioning is to reduce injury through better movement, but unfortunately, sometimes injuries will still happen. Where strength and conditioning can help here is that your muscles will be stronger and more adapt which will aid the recovery process. A strength & conditioning coach will also be able to identify which movement patterns are out of bounds and how to use exercise to condition your muscles back to performance.
As you can see, strength and conditioning benefits so many areas of not just sport, but everyday life. Incorporating some of the principles into your own or your clients’ training can really make a difference to how they perform, move and live.
If you would like to learn more on the principles of strength and conditioning, sign up to our free Ebook which offers a complete beginners guide to help you master the basics here:
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